Why Reform of the WTO is the Wrong Agenda
By Walden Bello*
In the wake of the collapse of the Seattle Ministerial, there has
emerged the opinion that reform of the WTO is now the program that NGOs, governments, and
citizens must embrace. The collapse of the WTO Ministerial is said to provide a unique
window of opportunity for a reform agenda.
Cited by some as a positive sign is United States Trade Representative Charlene
Barshefsky's comment, immediately after the collapse of the Seattle Ministerial, that
"the WTO has outgrown the processes appropriate to an earlier time." An
increasing and necessary view, generally shared among the members, was that we needed a
process which had a greater degree of internal transparency and inclusion to accommodate a
larger and more diverse membership." (1)
Also seen as an encouraging gesture is UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Stephen Byers' recent statement to Commonwealth Trade Ministers in New Delhi that the
"WTO will not be able to continue in its present form. There has to be fundamental
and radical change in order for it to meet the needs and aspirations of all 134 of its
These are, in our view, damage control statements and provide little indication of the
seriousness about reform of the two governments that were, pre-Seattle, the stoutest
defenders of the inequalities built into the structure, dynamics, and objectives of the
WTO. It is unfortunate that they are now being cited to convince developing countries and
NGOs to take up an agenda of reform that could lead precisely to the strengthening of an
organization that is very fundamentally flawed.
What civil society, North and South, should instead be doing at this point is radically
cutting down the power of the institution and reducing it to simply another institution in
a pluralistic world trading system with multiple systems of governance.
Does World Trade Need the World Trade Organization?
This is the fundamental question on which the question of reform hinges.
World trade did not need the WTO to expand 17-fold between 1948 and 1997, from $124
billion to $10,772 billion.(3) This expansion took place under the flexible GATT trade
regime. The WTO's founding in 1995 did not respond to a collapse or crisis of world trade
such as happened in the 1930's. It was not necessary for global peace, since no world war
or trade-related war had taken place during that period. In the seven major inter-state
wars that took place in that period-the Korean War of 1950-53, the Vietnam War of 1945-75,
the Suez Crisis of 1956, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the 1982
Falklands War, and the Gulf War of 1990-trade conflict did not figure even remotely as a
GATT was, in fact, functioning reasonably well as a framework for liberalizing world
trade. Its dispute-settlement system was flexible and with its recognition of the
"special and differential status" of developing countries, it provided the space
in a global economy for Third World countries to use trade policy for development and
Why was the WTO established following the Uruguay Round of 1986-94? Of the major trading
powers, Japan was very ambivalent, concerned as it was to protect its agriculture as well
as its particular system of industrial production that, through formal and informal
mechanisms, gave its local producers primary right to exploit the domestic market. The EU,
well on the way of becoming a self-sufficient trading bloc, was likewise ambivalent,
knowing that its highly subsidized system in agriculture would come under attack. Though
demanding greater access to their manufactured and agricultural products in the Northern
economies, the developing countries did not see this as being accomplished through a
comprehensive agreement enforced by a powerful trade bureaucracy but through discrete
negotiations and agreements in the model of the Integrated Program for Commodities (IPCs)
and Commodity Stabilization Fund agreed upon under the aegis of UNCTAD in the late
The founding of the WTO served primarily the interest of the United States. Just as it was
the US which blocked the founding of the International Trade Organization (ITO) in 1948,
when it felt that this would not serve its position of overwhelming economic dominance in
the post-war world, so it was the US that became the dominant lobbyist for the
comprehensive Uruguay Round and the founding of the WTO in late eighties and early
nineties, when it felt that more competitive global conditions had created a situation
where its corporate interests now demanded an opposite stance.
Just as it was the US's threat in the 1950's to leave GATT if it was not allowed to
maintain protective mechanisms for milk and other agricultural products that led to
agricultural trade's exemption from GATT rules, so was it US pressure that brought
agriculture into the GATT-WTO system in 1995. And the reason for Washington's change of
mind was articulated quite candidly by then US Agriculture Secretary John Block at the
start of the Uruguay Round negotiations in 1986: "[The] idea that developing
countries should feed themselves is an anachronism from a bygone era. They could better
ensure their food security by relying on US agricultural products, which are available, in
most cases at much lower cost."(4) Washington, of course, did not just have
developing country markets in mind, but also Japan, South Korea, and the European Union.
It was the US that mainly pushed to bring services under WTO coverage, with its assessment
that the in the new burgeoning area of international services, and particularly in
financial services, its corporations had a lead that needed to be preserved. It was also
the US that pushed to expand WTO jurisdiction to the so-called "Trade-Related
Investment Measures" (TRIMs) and "Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPs)." The first sought to eliminate barriers to the system of internal
cross-border trade of product components among TNC (transnational corporations)
subsidiaries that had been imposed by developing countries in order to develop their
industries; the second to consolidate the US advantage in the cutting-edge
And it was the US that forced the creation of the WTO's formidable dispute-resolution and
enforcement mechanism after being frustrated with what US trade officials considered weak
GATT efforts to enforce rulings favorable to the US. As Washington's academic point man on
trade, C. Fred Bergsten, head of the Institute of International Economics, told the US
Senate, the strong WTO dispute settlement mechanism serves US interests because "we
can now use the full weight of the international machinery to go after those trade
barriers, reduce them, get them eliminated."(5)
In sum, it has been Washington's changing perception of the needs of its economic
interest-groups that have shaped and reshaped the international trading regime. It was not
global necessity that gave birth to the WTO in 1995. It was the US's assessment that the
interests of its corporations were no longer served by a loose and flexible GATT but
needed an all-powerful and wide-ranging WTO. From the free-market paradigm that underpins
it, to the rules and regulations set forth in the different agreements that make up the
Uruguay Round, to its system of decision-making and accountability, the WTO is a blueprint
for the global hegemony of Corporate America. It seeks to institutionalize the accumulated
advantages of US corporations.
Is the WTO necessary? Yes, to the United States. But not to the rest of the world. The
necessity of the WTO is one of the biggest lies of our time, and its acceptance is due to
the same propaganda principle practised by Joseph Goebbels: if you repeat a lie often
enough, it will be taken as truth.
Can the WTO Serve the Interests of the Developing Countries?
But what about the developing countries? Is the WTO a necessary structure--one that,
whatever its flaws, brings more benefits than costs, and would therefore merit efforts at
When the Uruguay Round was being negotiated, there was considerable lack of enthusiasm for
the process by the developing countries. After all, these countries had formed the
backbone of UNCTAD, which, with its system of one-country/one-vote and majority voting,
they felt was an international arena more congenial to their interests. They entered the
Uruguay Round greatly resenting the large trading powers' policy of weakening and
marginalizing UNCTAD in the late seventies and early eighties.Largely passive spectators,
with a great number not even represented during the negotiations owing to resource
constraints, the developing countries were dragged into unenthusiastic endorsement of the
Marrakesh Accord of 1994 that sealed the Uruguay Round and established the WTO. True,
there were somedeveloping countries, most of them in the Cairns Group of developed and
developing country agro-exporters, that actively promoted the WTO in the hope that they
would gain greater market access to their exports, but they were a small minority.
To try to sell the WTO to the South, US propagandists evoked the fear that staying out of
the WTO would result in a country's isolation from world trade ("like North
Korea") and stoked the promise that a "rules-based system" of world trade
would protect the weak countries from unilateral acts by the big trading powers.
With their economies dominated by the IMF and the World Bank, with the structural
adjustment programs pushed by these agencies having as a central element radical trade
liberalization, much weaker as a bloc owing to the debt crisis compared to the 1970's, the
height of the "New International Economic Order," most developing country
delegations felt they had no choice but to sign on the dotted line.
Over the next few years, however, these countries realized that they had signed away their
right to employ a variety of critical trade measures for development purposes.
In contrast to the loose GATT framework, which had allowed some space for development
initiatives, the comprehensive and tightened Uruguay Round was fundamentally
anti-development in its thrust. This is evident in the following:
Loss of Trade Policy as Development Tool
In signing on to GATT, Third World countries were committed to banning all quantitative
restrictions on imports, reduce tariffs on many industrial imports, and promise not to
raise tariffs on all other imports. In so doing, they have effectively given up the use of
trade policy to pursue industrialization objectives. The way that the NICs, or "newly
industrializing countries," made it to industrial status, via the policy of import
substitution, is now effectively removed as a route to industrialization.
The anti-industrialization thrust of the GATT-WTO Accord is made even more manifest in the
Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) and the Agreement on Trade-Related
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). In their drive to industrialize, NICs like South
Korea and Malaysia made use of many innovative mechanisms such as trade-balancing
requirements that tied the value of a foreign investor's imports of raw materials and
components to the value of his or her exports of the finished commodity, or "local
content" regulations which mandated that a certain percentage of the components that
went into the making of a product was sourced locally.
These rules indeed restricted the maneuvering space of foreign investors, but they were
successfully employed by the NICs to marry foreign investment to national
industrialization. They enabled the NICs to raise income from capital-intensive exports,
develop support industries, bring in technology, while still protecting local
entrepreneurs' preferential access to the domestic market. In Malaysia, for instance, the
strategic use of local content policy enabled the Malaysians to build a "national
car," in cooperation with Mitsubishi, that has now achieved about 80 per cent local
content and controls 70 per cent of the Malaysian market. Thanks to the TRIMs accord,
these mechanisms used are now illegal.
The Restriction of Technological Diffusion
Like the TRIMs agreement, the TRIPs regime is seen as effectively opposed to the
industrialization and development efforts of Third World countries. This becomes clear
from a survey of the economic history not only of the NICs but of almost all
late-industrializing countries. A key factor in their industrial take-off was their
relatively easy access to cutting-edge technology: The US industrialized, to a great
extent by using but paying very little for British manufacturing innovations, as did the
Germans. Japan industrialized by liberally borrowing US technological innovations, but
barely compensating the Americans for this. And the Koreans industrialized by copying
quite liberally and with little payment US and Japanese product and process technologies.
But what is "technological diffusion" from the perspective of the late
industrializer is "piracy" from that of the industrial leader. The TRIPs regime
takes the side of the latter and makes the process of industrialization by imitation much
more difficult from hereon. It represents what UNCTAD describes as "a premature
strengthening of the intellectual property system...that favors monopolistically
controlled innovation over broad-based diffusion."(6)
The TRIPs regime provides a generalized minimum patent protection of 20 years; increases
the duration of the protection for semi-conductors or computer chips; institutes draconian
border regulations against products judged to be violating intellectual property rights;
and places the burden of proof on the presumed violator of process patents.
The TRIPs accord is a victory for the US high-tech industry, which has long been lobbying
for stronger controls over the diffusion of innovations. Innovation in the
knowledge-intensive high-tech sector- in electronic software and hardware, biotechnology,
lasers, opto- electronics, liquid crystal technology, to name a few-has become the central
determinant of economic power in our time. And when any company in the NICs and Third
World wishes to innovate, say in chip design, software programming, or computer assembly,
it necessarily has to integrate several patented designs and processes, most of them from
US electronic hardware and software giants like Microsoft, Intel, and Texas
Instruments.(7) As the Koreans have bitterly learned, exorbitant multiple royalty payments
to what has been called the American "high tech mafia" keeps one's profit
margins very low while reducing incentives for local innovation.
The likely outcome is for a Southern manufacturer simply to pay royalties for a technology
rather than to innovate, thus perpetuating the technological dependence on Northern
firms.Thus, TRIPs enables the technological leader, in this case the United States, to
greatly influence the pace of technological and industrial development in rival
industrialized countries, the NICs, and the Third World.
Watering Down the "Special and Differential Treatment" Principle
The central principle of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)--an
organization disempowered by the establishment of the WTO--is that owing to the critical
nexus between trade and development, developing countries must not be subjected to the
same expectations, rules, and regulations that govern trade among the developed countries.
Owing to historical and structural considerations, developing countries need special
consideration and special assistance in leveling the playing field for them to be able to
participate equitably in world trade. This would include both the use of protective
tariffs for development purposes and preferential access of developing country exports to
developed country markets.
While GATT was not centrally concerned with development, it did recognize the
"special and differential status" of the developing countries. Perhaps the
strongest statement of this was in the Tokyo Round Declaration in 1973, which recognized
"the importance of the application of differential measures in developing countries
in ways which will provide special and more favourable treatment for them in areas of
negotiation where this is feasible."(8) Different sections of the evolving GATT code
allowed countries to renegotiate tariff bindings in order to promote the establishment of
certain industries; allowed developing countries to use tariffs for economic development
and fiscal purposes; allowed them to use quantitative restrictions to promote infant
industries; and conceded the principle of non-reciprocity by developing countries in trade
negotiation.(9) The 1979 Framework Agreement known at the Enabling Clause also provided a
permanent legal basis for General System of Preferences (GSP) schemes that would provide
preferential access to developing country exports.(10)
A significant shift occurred in the Uruguay Round. GSP schemes were not bound, meaning
tariffs could be raised against developing country until they equaled the bound rates
applied to imports for all sources. Indeed, during the negotiations, the threat to remove
GSP was used as "a form of bilateral pressure on developing countries."(11) SDT
was turned from a focus on a special right to protect and special rights of market access
to "one of responding to special adjustment difficulties in developing countries
stemming from the implementation of WTO decisions."(12) Measures meant to address the
structural inequality of the trading system gave way to measures, such as a lower rate of
tariff reduction or a longer time frame for implementing decisions, which regarded the
problem of developing countries as simply that of catching up in an essentially even
STD has been watered down in the WTO, and this is not surprising for the neoliberal agenda
that underpins the WTO philosophy differs from the Keynesian assumptions of GATT: that
there are no special rights, no special protections needed for development. The only route
to development is one that involves radical trade (and investment) liberalization.
Fate of the Special Measures for Developing Countries
Perhaps the best indicators of the marginal consideration given to developing countries in
the WTO is the fate of the measures that were supposed to respond to the special
conditions of developing countries. There were three key agreements which promoters of the
WTO claimed were specifically designed to meet the needs of the South:
* The Special Ministerial Agreement approved in Marrakesh in April
1994, which decreed that special compensatory measures would be taken to counteract the
negative effects of trade liberalization on the net food-importing developing countries;
* The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which mandated thart the
system of quotas on developing country exports of textiles and garments to the North would
be dismantled over ten years;
* The Agreement on Agriculture, which, while "imperfect,"
nevertheless was said to promise greater market access to developing country agricultural
products and begin the process of bringing down the high levels of state support and
subsidization of EU and US agriculture, which was resulting in the dumping of massive
quantities of grain on Third World markets.
What happened to these measures?
The Special Ministerial Decision taken at Marrakesh to provide
assistance to "Net Food Importing Countries" to offset the reduction of
subsidies that would make food imports more expensive for the "Net Food Importing
Countries" has never been implemented. Though world crude prices more than doubled in
1995/96, the World Bank and the IMF scotched an idea of any offsetting aid by arguing that
"the price increase was not due to the Agreement on Agriculture, and besides there
was never any agreement anyway on who would be responsible for providing the
The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing committed the developed countries to bring under
WTO discipline all textile and garment imports over four stages, ending on January 1,
2005. A key feature was supposed to be the lifting of quotas on imports restricted under
the Multifiber Agreement (MFA) and similar schemes which had been used to contain
penetration of developed country markets by cheap clothing and textile imports from the
Third World. Developed countries retained, however, the right to choose which product
lines to liberalize when, so that they first brought mainly unrestricted products into the
WTO discipline and postponed dealing with restricted products till much later. Thus, in
the first phase, all restricted products continued to be under quota, as only items where
imports were not considering threatening-like felt hats or yarn of carded fine animal
hair--were included in the developed countries' notifications. Indeed, the notifications
for the coverage of products for liberalization on January 1, 1998 showed that "even
at the second stage of implementation only a very small proportion" of restricted
products would see their quotas lifted.(14)
Given this trend, John Whalley notes that "the belief is now widely held in the
developing workd that in 2004, whilme the MFA may disappear, it may well be replaced by a
series of other trade instruments, possibly substantial increases in anti-dumping
When it comes to the Agreement on Agriculture, which was sold to developing countries
during the Uruguay Round as a major step toward providing market access to developing
country imports and bringing down the high levels of domestic support for first world
farming interests that results in dumping of commodities in third world markets, little
gains in market access after five years into developed country markets have been
accompanied by even higher levels of overall subsidization-through ingenious combinations
of export subsidies, export credits, market support, and various kinds of direct income
The figures speak for themselves: the level of overall subsidization of agriculture in the
OECD countries rose from $182 billion in 1995 when the WTO was born to $280 billion in
1997 to $362 billion in 1998! Instead of the beginning of a New Deal, the AOA, in the
words of a former Philippine Secretary of Trade, "has perpetuated the unevenness of a
playing field which the multilateral trading system has been trying to correct. Moreover,
this has placed the burden of adjustment on developing countries relative to countries who
can afford to maintain high levels of domestic support and export subsidies."(16)
The collapse of the agricultural negotiations in Seattle is the best example of how
extremely difficult it is to reform the AOA. The European Union opposed till the bitter
end language in an agreement that would commit it to "significant reduction" of
its subsidies. But the US was not blameless. It resolutely opposed any effort to cut back
on its forms of subsidies such as export credits, direct income for farmers, and
"emergency" farm aid, as well as any mention of its practice of dumping products
in developing country markets.
Oligarchic Decision-Making as a Central, Defining Process
Is the system of WTO decisionmaking reformable? While far more flexible than the WTO, the
GATT was, of course, far from perfect, and one of the bad traits that the WTO took over
from it was the system of decision-making. GATT functioned through a process called
"consensus." Now consensus responded to the same problem that faced the IMF and
the World Bank's developed country members: how to assure control at a time that the
numbers gave the edge to the new countries of the South. In the Fund and the Bank, the
system of decision-making evolved had the weight of a country's vote determined by the
size of its capital subscriptions, which gave the US and the other rich countries
effective control of the two organizations.
In the GATT, a one-country one-vote system was initially tried, but the big trading powers
saw this as inimical to their interests. Thus, the last time a vote was taken in GATT was
in 1959.(17) The system that finally emerged was described by US economist Bergsten as one
that "does not work by voting. It works by a consensus arrangement which, to tell the
truth, is managed by four- the Quads: the United States, Japan, European Union, and
Canada."(18) He continued: "Those countries have to agree if any major steps are
going to be made, that is true. But no votes.(19)
Indeed, so undemocratic is the WTO that decisions are arrived at informally, via caucuses
convoked in the corridors of the ministerials by the big trading powers. The formal
plenary sessions, which in democracies are the central arena for decision- making, are
reserved for speeches. The key agreements to come out of the first and second ministerials
of the WTO-the decision to liberalize information technology trade taken at the first
ministerial in Singapore in 1996 and the agreement to liberalize trade in electronic
commerce arrived at in Geneva in 1998-were all decided in informal backroom sessions and
simply presented to the full assembly as faits accompli. Consensus simply functioned to
render non-transparent a process where smaller, weaker countries were pressured,
browbeaten, or bullied to conform to the "consensus" forged among major trading
With surprising frankness, at a press conference in Seattle, US Trade Representative
Charlene Barshefsky, who played the pivotal role in all three ministerials, described the
dynamics and consequences of this system of decision-making: The process, including even
at Singapore as recently as three years ago, was a rather exclusionary one. All meetings
were held between 20 and 30 keycountries...And that meant 100 countries, 100, were never
in the room...[T]his led to an extraordinarily bad feeling that they were left our of the
process and that the results even at Singapore had been dictated to them by the 25 or 30
privileged countries who were in the room.(20)
Then, after registering her frustration at the WTO delegates' failing to arrive at
consensus via supposedly broader "working groups" set up for the Seattle
ministerial, Barshefsky warned delegates: "...[I] have made very clear and I
reiterated to all ministers today that, if we are unable to achieve that goal, I fully
reserve the right to also use a more exclusive process to achieve a final outcome. There
is no question about either my right as the chair to do it or my intention as the chair to
And she was serious about ramming through a declaration at the expense of
non-representativeness, with India, one of the key developing country members of the WTO,
being "routinely excluded from private talks organized by the United States in last
ditch efforts to come up with a face-saving deal."(22)
In damage-containment mode after the collapse of the Seattle Ministerial, Barshefsky, WTO
Director General Mike Moore, and other rich country representatives have spoken about the
need for WTO "reform." But none have declared any intention of pushing for a
one-county/one-vote majority decision-making system or a voting system weighted by
population size, which would be the only fair and legitimate methods in a democratic
international organization. The fact is, such mechanisms will never be adopted, for this
would put the developing countries in a preponderant role in terms of decision-making.
Should One Try to Reform a Jurassic Institution?
Reform is a viable strategy when the system is question is fundamentally fair but has
simply been corrupted such as the case with some democracies. It is not a viable strategy
when a system is so fundamentally unequal in purposes, principles, and processes as the
WTO. The WTO systematically protects and the trade and economic advantages of the rich
countries, particularly the United States. It is based on a paradigm or philosophy that
denigrates the right to take actvist measures to achieve development on the part of less
developed countries, thus leading to a radical dilution of their right to "special
and differntial treatment." The WTO raises inequality into a principle of
The WTO is often promoted as a "rules-based" trading framework that protects the
weaker and poorer countries from unilateral actions by the stronger states. The opposite
is true: the WTO, like many other multilateral international agreements, is meant to
instututionalize and legtimize inequality. Its main purpose is to reduce the tremendous
policing costs to the stronger powers that would be involved in disciplining many small
countries in a more fluid, less structured international system.
It is not surprising that both the WTO and the IMF are currently mired in a severe crisis
of legitimacy. For both are highly centralized, highly unaccountable, highly
non-transparent global institutions that seek to subjugate, control, or harness vast
swathes of global economic, social, political, and environmental processes to the needs
and interests of a global minority of states, elites, and TNCs. The dynamics of such
institutions clash with the burgeoning democratic aspirations of peoples, countries, and
communities in both the North and the South. The centralizing dynamics of these
institutions clash with the efforts of communities and nations to regain control of their
fate and achieve a modicum of security by deconcentrating and decentralizing economic and
political power. In other words, these are Jurassic institutions in an age of
participatory political and economic democracy.
Building a More Pluralistic System of International Trade Governance
If there is one thing that is clear, it is that developing country
governments and international civil society must not allow their energies to be hijacked
into reforming these institutions. This will only amount to administering a facelift to
fundamentally flawed institutions. Indeed, today's need is not another centralized global
institution, reformed or unreformed, but the deconcentration and decentralization of
institutional power and the creation of a pluralistic system of institutions and
organizations interacting with one another amidst broadly defined and flexible agreements
It was under such a more pluralistic global system, where hegemonic power was still far
form institutionalized in a set of all encompassing and powerful multilateral
organizations that the Latin American countries and many Asian countries were able to
achieve a modicum of industrial development in the period from 1950-70. It was under a
more pluralistic world system, under a GATT that was limited in its power, flexible, and
more sympathetic to the special status of developing countries, that the East and
Southeast Asian countries were able to become newly industrializing countries through
activist state trade and industrial policies that departed significantly from the
free-market biases enshrined in the WTO.
The alternative to a powerful WTO is not a Hobbesian state of nature. It is always the
powerful that have stoked this fear. The reality of international economic relations in a
world marked by a multiplicity of international and regional institutions that check one
another is a far cry from the propaganda image of a "nasty" and
"brutish" world. Of course, the threat of unilateral action by the powerful is
ever present in such a system, but it is one that even the powerful hesitate to take for
fear of its consequences on their legitimacy as well as the reaction it would provoke in
the form of opposing coalitions.
In other words, what developing countries and international civil society should aim at is
not to reform the WTO but, through a combination of passive and active measures, to
radically reduce its power and to make it simply another international insitution
coexisting with and being checked by other international organizations, agreements, and
regional groupings. These would include such diverse actors and institutions as UNCTAD,
multilateral environmental agreements, the International Labor Organization (ILO),
evolving trde blocs such as Mercosur in Latin America, SAARC in South Asia, SADCC in
Southern Africa, and ASEAN in Southeast Asia. It is in such a more fluid, less structured,
more pluralistic world with multiple checks and balances that the nations and communities
of the South will be able to carve out the space to develop based on their values, their
rhythms, and the strategies of their choice.
*Walden Bello, PhD, is executive director of Focus on the Global South and professor of
sociology and public administratioon at the University of the Philippines. He attended all
three WTO Ministerials as an NGO delegate. He is the author of several works on the WTO
including Iron Cage: The WTO, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and the Third World
(Bangkok: Focus on the Global South, 1999).
Press briefing, Seattle, 2 December 1999.
Quoted in "Deadline Set for WTO Reforms," Guardian News
Service, Jan. 10, 2000.
Figures from World Trade Organization, Annual Report 1998:
International Trade Statistics (Geneva: WTO, 1998), p. 12.
Quoted in "Cakes and Caviar: The Dunkel Draft and Third World
Agriculture," Ecologist, Vol. 23, No. 6 (Nov-Dec. 1993), p. 220.
C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Institute for International Economics,
Testimony before US Senate, Washington, DC, Oct. 13, 1994.
UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report 1991 (New York: United Nations,
1991), p. 191.
See discussion of this in Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfeld,
Dragons in Distress: Asia's Miracle Economies in Crisis (San Francisco: Institute for Food
and Development Policy, 1990), p. 161.
Quoted in John Whaley, "Special and Differential Treatment in
the Millenium Round," CSGR Working Paper, No. 30/99 (May 1999), p 3.
Ibid., p. 4.
Ibid., p. 7.
Ibid., p. 10.
Ibid., p. 14.
"More Power to the World Trade Organization?", Panos
Briefing, Nov. 1999, p. 14.
South Center, The Multilateral Trade Agenda and the South (Geneva:
South Center, 1998), p. 32.
John Whalley, Building Poor Countries' Trading Capacity CSGR Working
Paper Series (Warwick: CSGR, March 1999)
Secretary of Trade Cesar Bautista, Address to 2nd WTO Ministerial,
Geneva, May 18, 1998.
C. Fred Bergsten, Director, Institute for International Economics,
Terstimony before the US Senate, Washington, DC, Oct. 13, 1994.
Press briefing, Seattle, Washington, Dec. 2, 1999
"Deadline Set for WTO Reforms," Guardian News Service, Jan.
Pfrimmer, David, (1999), 'More than Debt Cancellation',
LWF Development Education Forum, December, Geneva.
The jubilee is about more than a campaign about debt cancellation. For Canadian churches
it is a metaphor that may offer hope and promise of the world we want and ht world
God intends. Jubilee is about restoring the right economic and social relationships, It is
a prophetic reminder in the midst of a dehumanizing globalized economy of the creator's
"Great Economy" where everyone has a place in the household of God.
(For a copy write to RL@lutheranworld.org)
'Tread Softly: Debt is for the Rich, Credit is for the Poor', (1999), LWF
Development Education Forum, December, Geneva.
Well-meaning voices in the North are raised with the cry: "Forgive Third World
Debt!". From the south those who work for the poor urge caution. Debt relief is a
blunt instrument. To clean the slate, without conditions, may give renewed license to the
rapacious, corrupt or inefficient elite in the South - the rich businessmen who borrow and
never repay, the inefficient public sector to employ more staff to provide less service.
The aim of debt relief may encourage worse, not best, practice.
(For a copy write to RL@lutheranworld.org)
Greenfield, Gerard (1999), The WTO, the World Food System, and the Politics of Harmonized
Destruction, Asian Labor Update, Asia Monitor Resource Center, Issue 32, Hong Kong.
Free marketeers claim that the liberalization of agricultural trade under the WTO
Agreement on Agriculture seeks to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers by the year
2000, creating a 'level playing-field' and opening up markets to 'free and fair
competition'. The reality is that WTO is fostering greater inequality and increasing the
monopolization and centralization of power in the hands of few TNCs which dominate the
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Ghosh, Jayati (1999), 'Globalization and Women's Employment in Asia', Women in Action, No.
2, The Isis Women's Resources Center, Manila.
The last one year has witnessed a sea of change in attitudes towards globalization,
however, as the beneficial effects of this process in its most highly publicized success
zone - East and Southeast Asia - have rapidly unraveled. And this has made more people all
over the world receptive to the possibility that the earlier perception of globalization
is flawed one and that the process is at once less radical and more complex than is
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'Raising the Morning Star', (1999), Pacific New Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 12, Suva.
Tens of thousands of people rallied around West Papua on 1 December to watch the Morning
Star flag being raised in towns and villages round the country. The ceremony marked the
thirty-eighth anniversary of the declaration of West Papua independence form the
Netherlands-soon to be crushed by Indonesia's takeover in 1963, and the 1969 Act of Free
Choice. The article documents the ongoing struggle for their rights.
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Dubin, Lawrence(1999), 'The direct Application of Human Rights Standards to and by,
Transnational Corporations', The Review, International Commission of Jurists, No. 61,
Transnational corporations (TNCs) have often been the focus of notable controversy because
of their economic and in some cases - political power, the mobility and complexity of
their operations, and the difficulties they create for States - both home State and host
State - which seek to exercise legal authority over them. However, the link between
the protection of human rights and activities of TNCs through private mechanisms, such as
private codes of conduct or product labeling, is a new phenomenon. This article critically
examines these issues.
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Callahan, Mary P.(1999), 'Juntas Dreams or Nightmares? Observations of Burma's
Military since 1988', Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 31, No. 3, Oakland.
Today's tatmadaw (Burmese, for "armed forces") looks very different from the
army that took over in 1988. In ten years the tamadaw has expanded from 186,000 to 370,000
members and spent more than $1 billion on 140 new combat aircraft, 30 naval vessels, and
numerous rocket launch systems tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other hardware. But
all this gain and growth cannot come without a certain amount of institutional and
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